On Monday, November 26th 2012, news of the unconditional release of the two pharmacists who were accused of selling Rohpynol Flunitrazepam – a sedative, without proper prescription to the murderers of Cynthia Osokogu in Lagos was disseminated, eliciting a range of responses from Nigerians. While some people were happy saying the Pharmacists were innocent, others said they should have known better than to sell such drugs to people without proper prescription.
However, in another twist to the story, a Yaba Magistrate’s Court, Lagos on Tuesday ordered the re-arrest of Orji Osita, one of the pharmacists accused in the murder case.
According to Punch, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, of an Ikeja High Court, had on November 20, 2012 released Osita and the other Pharmacist, Maduakor Chukwunonso after they filed an application to enforce their fundamental human rights.
But at the hearing of the DPP’s advice on Tuesday before Magistrate Olalekan Aka-Bashorun, the officer in charge of the Legal Department of the State Criminal Investigation Department of the Lagos State Police Command, Chukwu Agwu, said the police had another charge for Osita.
He said, “Following the latest advice, we have another charge for the third defendant (Osita) and I don’t know why he (Osita) and the fourth defendant Chukwunonso are not in court today.”
He denied the knowledge that a high court had freed the two pharmacists and asked the court to order the re-arrest of Osita.
“In view of this situation, I urge this honourable court to invoke Section 79 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State and order the arrest of Osita so that he can face the new charge against him.”
The Magistrate, after hearing arguments from the prosecution and the lawyer of Osita and Chukwunonso agreed that Osita should be re-arrested. “Section 79 is hereby invoked and law enforcement agents should compel his attendance before this court at the next adjourned date.”
Chris Obiaka, lawyer of Osita and Chukwunonso, however argued that the DPP who purportedly issued the second advice was duly represented at the Ikeja High Court on November 20, 2012 and did not raise an objection to their “unconditional release.”
This is quite confusing. After being released unconditionally, the police comes up with “another charge” for one of the Pharmacists. The development has again raised people’s doubts on the ability of the Nigerian Judicial System to deliver justice on this case.